Bespoke Events London is one of the leading events production and design companies in the UK based— as you might expect, in London. They’ve created spectacular designs installed with precision that boasts over 25 years of experience designing and producing spectacular corporate, private and wedding events.
This week we go on location to Bespoke HQ’s creative suite with Creative Director Daniel Morris-Gibbons. From creating a tropical beach in the middle of winter, to hosting E!’s new drama series “The Royals”, Daniel gives us a first hand behind-the-scenes look at how some of their spectacular events come to life.
IN THIS EPISODE YOU'LL DISCOVER
- The important key stages of the Event Design Process
- Eliciting experiences from your clients to see a vision of their event
- How Hospitality plays a big part in running an Event and dealing with clients
0:25 – Intro
0:48 – Opening word with Toby and James
4:21 – Hear about Daniel’s background in becoming an Event’s Pro
5:36 – When was Bespoke Events set up?
6:16 – “A lot of production companies used to be like calling up your builder.”
7:02 – What areas of the events market does Bespoke cater for?
8:06 – What are the key stages of putting an event design together?
9:31 – Eliciting your client’s experiences that makes it easier for them to see a vision of their event.
10:38 – How to produce a design proposal.
13:33 – Referencing the initial concept of an event no matter how far down the line you are in your planning.
14:39 – Events are basically an escape from everyday reality.
15:15 – Starting the production of the event itself with pre-production
16:24 – Having a production warehouse for your events
17:07 – How much of the production is “off-the-shelf” and how much of it is Bespoke?
17:43 – What is the time period of the pre-production?
18:08 – Learn how things usually go on the event day itself.
18:31 – “Big technical stuff goes in first, big stuff come in next, and final details in last.”
19:41 – “It’s not the equipment in there that makes it. It’s the process of installing that and who’s installing it.”
20:30 – Making sure that your clients are happy, making sure that the venue is happy.
21:34 – Learn what the key skills you will need to be an Event Designer.
23:34 – An Event Designer has to have knowledge across quite a few industries.
23:55 – Learn how Daniel started learning about his profession
27:26 – Try out having training in hospitality.
28:34 – At the end of the day it’s common sense…
30:11 – A behind the scenes first hand experience about “The Royals”
44:17 – Discussing about the budget for an event
45:54 – What is the difference in handling Corporate, Private events and Weddings?
47:28 – Daniel brings his design traits to Bespoke events
48:42 – Try being more realistic and more environmental to set the mood.
51:07 – Dealing with international events and celebrity events
53:06 – What is next for Bespoke Events London?
54:03 – Advice for aspiring Events Pros: As long as you’ve got the right attitude and experience, you’ll get there.
58:07 – How to get in touch with Bespoke Events London
59:02 – Closing comments from Toby and James
Daniel: The whole idea really was to create a production company which was easy to deal with. A lot of production companies use to be like calling up your builder.”How many lights you want?” “What kind of sound system do you want?” And for the average person who doesn’t know production or events, its like saying “what kind of roof do you want?” But if you present it in a way that’s very accessible, they’re more likely to feel comfortable with you. One honestly go for you in the first place, and two also, the whole journey of getting to a fantastic looking end result is that much easier.
Narrator: Toby and James are involved in amazing events all over the world. You’re listening to
The Planner’s Planner Podcast, where top event professionals share real world experiences and cutting-edge ideas. Sponsored by Metropolis-Live.com.
Toby: Hi and welcome to PlannersPod again! I am Toby Goodman, and this is James Eager. Are you ready to get started James!
James: [incoherent blabbering]
Toby: No you’re not! Are you ready to get started James!?
James: I am always ready to get started, Toby. Are you?
Toby: (laughs) Right, okay, to you our listeners. Do you remember those two questions in regards to your life as an event pro, or aspiring event pro that I asked you at the end of last episode? If you haven’t checked it, it was the MediCinema episode, where talked about how MadiCinema get cinemas into hospitals. Quite a challenge. Anyway, those questions were: Where are you now in terms of your event professional life and career? And the second one: Where do you wanna be in 12 months? Also in regard, obviously, to your professional event, event professional career.
Right, James ask me why I’m asking those questions.
James: Toby, why are you asking those questions?
Toby: That’s beautifully delivered.
James: It’s almost like it’s not scripted.
Toby: It’s not scripted. Stop it.
Toby: Right, okay! It’s for us to exclusively reveal that we are launching a membership site for the
PlannersPod community. That’s you! You’re in the community, you’re listening. So, joining the PlannersPod community will connect you regardless of whether you’re an established or an aspiring event professional to other members across the globe through our specialist community! Simple as that. We’re gonna tell you more about what that means for you over the next few episodes so keep an ear out please, and do subscribe if you haven’t subscribed already. So once again, to help us focus the content and insure we give you incredible value from the get go, those all important questions for you– number one, in terms of your event professional career of course, 1) Where are you now? 2) Where would you wanna be in the next 12 months?
Please answer those and send me an e-mail directly to my inbox which is: email@example.com
Or you could find us on PlannersPod.com and click the contact icon, button there, whatever it is. Nice one. Right, that’s done!
James, who is on today’s show?
James: Right, today on the show is Daniel Morris-Gibbons. He is the creative director of a great company
called Bespoke Events London. Bespoke is a leading event production and design company based, as perhaps you would expect, in London. They create spectacular designs in stolbert prestition, and an outstanding team. And they boast over 20 years experience designing spectacular corporate, private and wedding events. This was filmed on location–
James: Filmed? No, recorded even. –Live at Bespoke HQ in their design studio. So you can hear the
team at work in the background there. Shall we get on with this one Toby?
Toby: Yeah! Here’s your chat with Daniel. See you at the end.
James: See you at the end.
Narrator: Planner’s Pod is sponsored by Metropolis-Live.com.
James: Daniel, welcome to Planner’s Pod, how are you doing?
Daniel: Hi there James. Yeah, very well, very well.
James: Cool. Well, we’re going to talk in depth about event design and some of the processes you used to create some of the amazing events you do it at Bespoke Events. Before we do that, can you give us a little bit of your background, please?
Daniel: Yeah, absolutely. Well, as you’re here in our studio, you can hear we’re in a live environment. People on the phone doing lots of planning and that’s how it kind of started, really. It was — it was myself, I was in the hotel industry, so I was working for to the five star hotels everywhere from Singapore, in Asia, to Boston and the States, and to Lisbon and resorts in Portugal. And the whole background I have — actually, a lot of the guys that you see in our studio today have is hospitality. So it’s not just about design and production but, you know, with events and especially private events like weddings, getting to the end point where it looks great is one thing, but actually for private events, you know, the birthday person, the host, the couple getting married, they actually want — they actually enjoy the experience of getting to the end result. So where we all started is hospitality, you know, and offering some five star service. And, you know, actually giving people an experience as well as just, you know, delivering the end results.
James: Excellent. So when was Bespoke Events setup?
Daniel: We set up in 2007. We actually then incorporated the company in early 2008. The website and
things like that was set up in autumn 2007, and it was a very very slow start. Originally it was just myself, I then got a couple of investors and backers on board, some of whom are still involved in the company today, and some of whom are silent partners. So it was at the beginning of 2008, we are sort of in the 8th year now in terms of when we’ve started. Thinking about ideas and setting up a website… The whole idea really was to create production company which was easy to deal with. A lot of production companies use to be like calling up your builder. You know, “How many lights you want?” “What kind of sound system do you want?” And for the average person who doesn’t know production or events, its like saying “what kind of roof do you want? — I don’t have a clue”. But if you present it in a way that’s very accessible in a very friendly and custom servers orientated way, especially your private clients, they’re more likely to feel comfortable with you. One honestly go for you in the first place, and two also, the whole journey of getting to a fantastic looking end result is that much easier. Because they can understand everything that you’re telling them, rather than bombarding them with technical information like some production companies could do. In the end you’re just talking a foreign language to your own client.
James: Yup, but the events industry’s obviously fast. What areas of the market do you cater for?
Daniel: So with really, really luxury end. Our focus is anything that looks visually stimulating. So, you know, we’re on — we’re less likely to get called by people who want a screen for conference. We’re more likely to get called for someone who wants to make their wedding look amazing or to, you know, launch that corporate brand with some high impact visuals. That’s going to get kind of press attention and photos and magazines and things like that. I can honestly say that, you know, what we do is anything that you can take a photo of because you want to take it, because it looks great. We don’t need a sort of production that you wouldn’t bring a professional camera until you want to take a shot of the room. I.E. a boring screen in the room isn’t our thing.
James: Totally. The thing that we’ve worked together a bunch of times now and the thing that I always associate with you is stunning-looking events, creativity, and design and…
Daniel: Wow. I shall have you working for a marketing department. (laughs)
James: Anytime. And — so what — I know very little about the actual creative process here. What are the key stages of putting an events all in together?
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Daniel: So the first thing is to establish the event concept. So what we do first of all is we present a design concept or a range of design concepts. So for example, if someone goes, “I don’t know, I want to do a winter themed event. I don’t know what to do. What would you suggest?” Well, we go, “Right, well, here are your event concepts. We can do a Winter Wonderland which is all blue and white and like walking into a winter forest. We can do an alpine ski lodge which is all warm and cozy. We could do, you know, Christmas morning, you know, with the fireplace and stockings and opening presents.” We actually establish and overall theme, and overall look for the event. And then from that point onwards, we have — we have a reference point to apply all the different elements of that event back to you.
James: Can I ask you, how do you gain this sort of portfolio of ideas? Do you give them a magazine or something to browse through or is it more asking questions and eliciting it from them?
Daniel: It’s asking questions. You know, we go, “Why don’t you want to do a winter event?” and they’ll go, “Oh, because, you know, we went to Verbier last year and we have this amazing ski lodge and it was all warm and cozy and you’re like, “Right, perfect, let’s do a ski lodge with a fire place. That’s all warm and cozy.”
Daniel: So that’s what you liked about it, so why don’t we do that for your event?
James: So will you ask questions about that background and then start putting little bits of design ideas from there.
Daniel: Yeah, it’s less about their background and more about their experiences, so it’s about things that they’ve seen that they’ve liked, you know, whether or not they’ve gone to Thailand and sat on the beach and that was the best thing ever and, you know, and therefore, you know that’s where you want to go or whether they, you know, been to a restaurant that was themed in a particular style and that’s what they want to go for. It’s officially picking up in stuff they like which is, you know, it could be holiday destinations, hotels they visited, restaurants they’ve eaten in the UK. Anything really that they can visually reference from, because in fact, you have to get the client on board. You have to have — let the client have a mental picture in their head of what it could like for them to get excited about it. It’s not like trying to sell them some, you know, design that an egotistical designer has come up with it that you’re selling to them but they’re not really on board with it. They can’t — because they can’t, you know, see that in their mind. So if you’re — if you’re actually taking visuals that they’ve — they can reference to, they’ve seen before in their experiences, you’re more like getting excited about the event and that’s going to produce a better quality event.
James: So you’ve obviously got a portfolio of events on — looking in your laptop here with hundreds of beautiful looking events here but do a lot of these concepts actually start from scratch?
Daniel: Yeah, they start from scratch. They start from things that you see, you know, in everyday life whether or not, you know, it’s going to a beach in something in Spain, you know, maybe Nikki Beach with the cool sort of, you know, umbrellas and the DJ planning and sushi, rather than, you know, stand that sort of beach and going, “I went to this placed called Nikki Beach. It was awesome! It’s kind of like a club on the beach.” Right, let’s do that as an event.
James: Wow. That’s a — that’s a concept there. So that is how we start to sort of elicit the event concept. Once you’ve got an event concept together, what happens next?
Daniel: So what we do then, we produce a design proposal. So a design proposal is actually a breakdown of all the element that could make up your event. So let’s say we’re going — let’s — we just talked about this Nikki Beach Theme so let’s talk about that for example.
Daniel: So Nikki Beach Theme, you’d have — and basic, you always — we always do lighting for events. So the basic you have your lighting, that lighting obviously will set the ambiance in terms of color but then, there are the lighting effects you can — you can incorporate, for example gobos with a use of — effects with a use of a patterened projector through light. So for example, for Nikki Beach Theme, at the real Nikki Beach they project during the evening yellow images of like a sun and kind of — how do I describe it? I supposed an artdeco sketch of the sun to kind go, “Look, it’s night time. It’s still sunny here.” So, you know, we get that same pattern and we project that around the venue incorporating purple lighting which is what they do at the — at the Nikki Beach Clubs in the evening. We then go — what else do you have? Okay, well, one of the key features as well and having sofas or dining chairs, we have beach pets, beach cabanas, you know, with sort of white beds with curtains of them. Get some of those in. Music. All right, we have to have music. They always have a DJ. They usually kind of beach it up a bit by having like a bongo player casually dressed next to the DJ so the bong along to the DJ. Let’s bring — let’s bring a pair of those in. And, you know, all these kind of elements that make up the event will kind of look at and go, “What do they use? What’s relevant to this? Okay, let’s include that as an option.” And in the end you’ll have a proposal that will break down into lighting, your entertainment and sound, your furniture. The kind of different elements that contribute to the overlooking feel of the event. I don’t know, there’s a pretty case that I’m going through that and going, “You know, what’s your budget? Do we need to bring the budget down a bit? Actually, do we have more budget coming if you have some stuff into this?” And picking and choosing the items that are kind of most relevant to achieving the overall look.
James: It’s interesting you mentioned budget, one of the things we’ve had in metropolis because we get quite a few kind of big budgets and it sometimes — they have so many ideas, our job is to actually refine into something they want. And they’re coming at us with all those ridiculous stuff and we’re going to have we make this happen, yet actually what we really want is something quite simple perhaps.
Daniel: Yeah, well that’s why you start with the concept. If you have a concept, you can’t go too much of that.
Daniel: You know, and everything plays back to the original concept. And really, you know, any concept can work. You just have to have one and choose the right things to make it work.
James: That’s really interesting. So you’re always referencing the initial concept however follow down the line you are?
Daniel: That’s the most important thing. You know, when we’re choosing entertainment six months from now, we’ve already with the sign doesn’t intent fit within the concept. You know, does having a, you know, circus act fit within the Nikki Beach Theme or actually, should we do some kind of more kind of whimsical, weird, beachy stilt walkers or something like that instead. You know, because everything that they see and experience will kind of, I supposed hop back to what are they really feeling, have they — what kind of event have they gone to and how they gone to an event as a bit of mismatch, not really matched with that or did they get really cool beach themed events?
Daniel: Yeah, they did. Yeah, and everything — they even had stilt walkers who are dressed in like beach hats and throwing beach balls to each other, you know. So it — so it works, so they leave the event going, “That was really great beach experience.”
James: Sure. Sure.
Daniel: In the middle of London in the winter potentially, and that’s the nice thing about it. You know, events are basically a sort of escape from everyday reality. I can — I can go to a beach during the summer anyway, but if I want to do an event, why not do it in the middle of winter in London because that’s as far away removed to what you normally experienced on an average London winter day.
James: Yeah, got it. So it’s all about taking them out of there, sort of, a usual place and taking them somewhere new.
Daniel: Yeah, it’s — events are exactly that. It’s a temporary, sort of, transport from what they would normally do on that given day and that given month and giving them something unique and different for that moment of time only.
James: Yeah. So, we’ve talked about a design proposal, what’s next?
Daniel: So, next, obviously after they chosen the different elements is the production itself. So from our point of view, it starts with the actual pre-production which is the building and preparation of all the equipment, so you know whether it’s the — if we’re doing the beach beds, we just start building these and, you know, we might — we might build them from scratch, we might go, you know, there’s a good product in the market we can buy that’s a four-posted bed, you know, let’s paint it white and add some sort of white, you know, fabric on there and actually create our own one.
Daniel: So it’s really about seeing what’s on the market, you know, gathering a material isn’t actually, you know, whether or not it’s carpentry or, you know, lighting or electrics or sound. Sort of producing things, almost manufacturing things for that particular event. A lo of things are going to be off the shelf, you know, obviously lighting, lighting is going to be off the shelf, we just need to sell it to the right color and it’s done, and then you’ll obviously have your more specific items like beach umbrellas and beach beds and potentially a bit of white sand and things like that. Well, that would be sort of ordered in or manufactured for the event itself.
James: Cool. Cool. So you’ve done your pre-production. We’re setting in a very — a designed suite here. You obviously build stuff here. Have you got another location that you…
Daniel: We do. Yes, so we have a production warehouse just outside of London. That is a — is a combination unit of storage for stock equipment like lighting, speakers, sound equipment, so on and so forth. And we also have within that a unit where we can build things, we have eventually a carpentry work for such and that’s more of a blank space with more space and tools and things like that. And we bring materials in, cut them up, saw them up, stick them together, sort of — screw them together and obviously you’ll have the end results. So it split between kind of, you know, technical and carpentry, I guess.
James: So — I mean, you may not be able to perfect or unless but when you do an average event, how much stuff is off the shelf and how much is Bespoke for and event?
Daniel: I think — I think the concept of the Bespoke is, you know, making it look different each time. It would be too expensive now in most people’s price bracket to have, you know, the majority of what we’re putting in each event as we Bespoke because it’s an extraordinary amount of materials and labor to actually produce each item. So we probably got sort of, you know, 70, 80% is off the shelf and 20% is for Bespoke. But that 20% of that stuff that’s Bespoke enables the whole event to look like for Bespoke Event.
James: Oh, I see. So what sort of time period does the pre-production happen to in an event?
Daniel: It’s usually three weeks before. So three weeks before we start writing up — writing up the kit list. Three weeks is pretty much enough time to do anything we need to do in terms of build or, you know, fabrication of anything, ordering anything and, you know, unless it’s very, very specialist.
James: Sure. Okay. We’ve done pre-production, what’s next?
Daniel: And then, obviously, the event itself.
James: The gig.
Daniel: So — the gig. So, typically, we’ll go in the morning in any event and we’ll have a production schedule which will detail what we’re setting up when. So you’ll typically have your lighting and all your sort of foundations going in first. So your sound will go in, your lighting will go in. And then, on top of that, there are things like the furniture and your sort of, soft furnishings. And then to finish it off, you might have florals or candles or your accessories. So, you know, big technical stuff in first, pretty big stuff in next, and then final details and last.
Daniel: Run through, sound check, and you’ve got an event.
James: Great. The — your gigs or events, rather, are they normally just one single day or do have production build three or four days?
Daniel: It depends. We’ve done events for big sort of, singers and artist, like, we did an event for Rod Stewart last year and, you know, we built for a week because the list of requirements were so complex, the stage has to be a certain width, height, and made of a certain material, and the lighting have to be a certain specification, and from a certain eight. And all that stuff takes time. So, you know, sometimes we’ll go in as far as week in advance. We were in also in Mykonos this year. We were actually setting a nightclub on the beach. And again, you’re starting a — I had a deserted beach and setting up a nightclub. You know, everything from the structure and the floor needs to go in first, then the lighting, then the sound, then the final details. You know, you need that sort of time, you know, for everything to be done to a descent standard. Obviously, you can just sort of, you know, lock it all in and hope it comes together but it doesn’t, you know, it’s not the equipment that goes in there that makes it, it’s the process of installing that, who’s installing it, you know, how qualified your technicians are. That’s what makes that equipment awesome. That’s why, you know, Peugeot can produce a car and Bentley can produce a car. At the end of the day, they’re working with raw materials, but it’s a skill of the technicians, and the designers and the processes that differentiate a, you know, a Peugeot or standard Volkswagen Golf to a 250 Grand Bentley. You know, you’re all starting with steel at the end of the day.
Daniel: But it’s all those processes in between that produce the final result, not the raw materials.
James: Cool. So you’ve done the gig, its gone well, I would assume. And what — do you have a debrief afterwards or what — is there anything.
Daniel: We do. I mean, effectively, the main thing is to ensure the clients happy, the second thing is to make sure the venue that we done in is happy, that we haven’t trashed their venue or they felt we’ve, you know, been too aggressive in our approach. You know, if there’s things to debrief such as, you know, this could’ve gone smoother or that could’ve gone smoother, that’s definitely done.
Daniel: You know, I think — I think more than anything, it’s just about each event is new experience and, you know, the more experience you have, the more you’ll remember for next time.
Daniel: So you can do debriefs but keeping it for people remember it. And you know what, you know, we have a pretty consensus team and our team remember the important things. You know, and if there was issue last time, they’ll remember to not do it or do it in different way next time.
James: Got you. That makes total sense. So, going back to this sort of the event designer role because that’s particularly what I’m interested in and we’re going to have a — I’ll get some pictures of an event you did with The Royals. These pictures will go up in the website afterwards because I know that’s not great for radio when you’re talking about pictures, you say you have something to cross reference there. But first of all, what do you think are the key skills that you need to be an event designer?
Daniel: I think — I think, you know, interior design — an interior designer would eventually be able to do event design because that’s what it is, its interior design. The difference is, is that it’s for one day, so whereas with the stand of interior design job, you present, you’ve to six months to install and therefore getting things in, you know, that could three days to load something in because at least it could fit through a window. So — and you don’t worry about that because you’ve got six months for your project. With event design, you’ve got to think of the interior design of the room, so you’ve got the same skills as an interior designer in a way, but you also got to think of the logistics why you’re doing it. You know, you don’t have a necessary a foreman like in interior designer would have a builder to reference. You’ve got to have both the design knowledge but also the equipment knowledge, the production knowledge, the technical knowledge so you can allocate the right stuff for the job and make sure that stuff can get into the room within a couple of hours and be setup and ready to go within a couple of hours as opposed to taking weeks and weeks, months and months like a normal interior designer wood.
Daniel: So, I think — I think, you know an event designer has to be obviously good in interior design but also have really good — or at least say a decent amount of technical knowledge. And the they’ve also got to think, “Well how is the room going to be used?” You know, they’ve got to have hospitality experience because it’s like right — well, are 200 people going to — going to have — get their drinks, how are 200 people going to get their food? Is it going to be too crowded and waiters aren’t going to get parched, we have food stations. So really, you know, and it comes in three main things which is hospitality, the sort of art of service, and this comes back to the hotel thing that was happened to earlier, you know, how are people’s, you know, experience going to be perfected by how they get their food and drink. The interior design which is obviously, you know, basic and also the production knowledge about how we actually can achieve this in such a small time and a couple of hours effectively. So in a way, you know, you — an event has really has to — has to have knowledge across quite a few different industries, that all hospitality but then comes for everything to food and beverage to technical to design.
James: Yup. So they’re asking, how did you start learning this stuff?
Daniel: Listen, I did a degree in hospitality management, so, you know, I’ve got a background — sort of, I supposed an academic background in the branch of commerce. If you can call hospitality management academic. You know, a lot of work experience in originally. I worked in hotels, restaurants, kind of took every opportunity I could do, actually to work in as many — or experience as many different parts of hospitality as possible. I had a keen interest in design myself, so I was sort of, you know, I always had an actual interest in, you know, design and how things went together. I’m sure at school and I’m pretty sure that when I was at school, that was the kind of internet era or the beginning of the internet era. So, you know, I played around and, you know, make websites and things like that and, you know, played around with graphic design and Microsoft Paint and all the things that you do when you first get a computer. And — or did 20 years ago. And I think — I think just, a mix of — like in hospitality, having an interest in design, you know, understanding technicalities of things. I was always the child who took things apart rather than played with them.
Daniel: You know, I think — I think those three things together and picking things up in the job just sort of — yeah, you just sort of get there. I’ve certainly, you know wasn’t the man who had all the answers eight years ago when we started. I’d like to think have few more answers now and few more solutions and ideas of what will work and when but, you know, really, it’s — it’s again, it’s just remembering things you’ve seen along the way and just apply them to your next…
James: So how did you take that knowledge of hospitality and go — and start talking about Source 4s and gobos – those are lights by the way. And that link start happening.
Daniel: I think — I mean, I was working for a fashion company and I — because I’ve done the hospitality degree that included, you know, event management, so at our university we’ve done our own events, like seen lights, let’s see what I could do. And it’s not that difficult if you’re broadly, technically minded.
Daniel: And I think, you know, having produced an event before, worked for a company and produced a fashion show, I saw all those things, I saw what … did I saw … did, you know, what sound is required. So, really, it was a questionable — I’ve seen all these things. Those small things alone that we use for his fashion show, create awesome looking spaces.
Daniel: That’s it. And let’s do, you know, let’s start the company, apply all those sort of service standards that, you know, apply to hotels and, you know, having it some customer service and offer, you know, offer and event where you have the room outlet and the color and your furniture’s another color and you have flowers on the table and, you know, it’s commonsense really, just putting stuff together to work.
James: So do you feel your hospitality degree was a really valuable thing to do?
Daniel: Yeah, it was absolutely. I think — you know, there’s two things. One, if I haven’t done that, I would’ve been probably too young and to an experience to go into an industry. You know, that degree, it’s all about…
James: Where did you do it?
Daniel: That was Oxford Brookes University or what they call now the Oxford School of International Hospitality. Sort of a, you know, elevating their status with a name change. But — yeah, I mean, that’s part of the degree you do a year in industry, you do a whole year of events which is actually working in that in-house kitchen, they got a restaurant at the prep school, live working in the restaurant that’s open to the public, as long as you work there, you see people’s reactions and you learn about customer service, you learn how kitchen works. Again, it’s all — it’s all about, you know, on the job training. You can equally do this by on the job training. I think the hospitality side of it. I supposed picture in a safe environment where you can make mistakes in the hospitality school in the kitchen there, it’s not going to get you fired. Whereas, if you did it on the job and you’re making your mistakes, you know, it does less room for making errors because eventually you’ll get told you are, you know, not suitable for this position.
James: Yeah, and that’s probably…
Daniel: So I supposed — yeah, so I supposed it allows more trial error before you actually come into industry?
James: Yes, because that’s an interesting discussion to have because people always have fair view points on event management education and that kind of thing and it’s something we’re going to explore in this podcast further.
Daniel: In the day, you know, Event Management Training is only really relevant if you’re the sort of person who is forward thinking and proactive. If you sit there and read the textbooks and listen to the drivel that comes some of the mouths of some of the people teaching you, it won’t get you anywhere. You will just have a bit of — I supposed you’d be well-trained, you know, become your own hospitality professor and teach more people more textbook stuff. You know, at the end of the day, you know, textbooks only going to get you so far. You know, it’s not medicine, you know, where you actually need a massive amount of, you know, academic information stored in your head. At the end of the day, it’s commonsense. You know, will — if I light up the room in that color, will it go with those flowers? You know, it’s kind of as simple as that. If you’re — if you’re, you know, if you don’t have commonsense and you’re not proactive, then that’s it, you know, there’s no point going to the industry.
James: Don’t know you’ll the way your technical hour is.
Daniel: Yeah. I think — I think anyone realistically who owns a business needs to be straight talking because, you know, if you try and, you know, go in with heirs and graces and it doesn’t get you anywhere. You know, look good in the outside but, you know, certainly from a profit point of view, you don’t end up making any money. You know, ultimately, if you’re not making any money, you can’t service your clients the best of your ability, you can’t invest and, you know, improve your product. So, yeah, it’s all about straight talking events. You know, at the end of the day, it’s a very, you know, pragmatic industry. It’s getting stuff and putting the right stuff in the right place so the people going to the party have a nice time, you know, it can’t get more pragmatic than that, can it? There’s no — there’s no academic in there at all, really.
James: But then, this is how — now that discussion and itself that we’ve got onto which is really, really cool.
Daniel: I’ll make sure I listen to the podcast on academic hospitality training and…
James: So we’ll send out some professors.
Daniel: Yeah, and see what — see what they have to say and they make me disagree with me, it’s just my way of doing it, you know.
James: Well, I mean, professors comment on the blog, they want to know.
Daniel: Yeah, absolutely. I gets abused.
Daniel: Use a fake name.
James: But I’m in your — I’m in your design studio now, so we speak — it speaks for him, doesn’t it? What you’re saying.
James: Cool. Let’s bring this back to The Royals. Tell me first of all what is, was The Royals?
Daniel: So Royals is a television series that’s commissioned by E Entertainment, American TV Station. The idea here is that the E Entertainment were more of sort of biographical channel, documentaries and search on various celebrities. I think they’re trying to move into an area where they can always increase their advertising revenues which means, you know, people want to watch the channel for a reason rather than just they come to it. And so they launched a drama series about the English Royal family. Obviously, being an American channel, that worked. It — in the UK, we take it in a completely way to the Americans, so, you know, we see it as very tongue-in-cheek. The Americans probably believe it a little bit more than the average Brit would. But in fact, it’s a drama starring Elizabeth Hurley, various other international television soap stars, I think that’s how you put it. It’s supposed to be a drama soap in the royal of family. Well, I think they’re on their second series now and first series last year. Shot in LA, very, very British as well as the UK for certain onsite scenes. So Hank said that, regardless with Hurley stars and I’m pretty sure all the other — all the other stars of it are American or Australian and they put on a British accent for the show but that’s the way Hollywood goes because in fact, this is Britain this a royal family produced by Hollywood, so it’s not going to be a biographical documentary of the real royal family. Very tongue-in-cheek, over dramatized, and the premier party took place in LA, in the open London and we have seen you see the London one but it was actually — it was actually — the whole London premier was actually managed from LA, so rather than getting that London team involved and who aren’t so familiar with big, heavy launches. They send down the team from LA to do it.
James: Okay. Can I just ask, how did this event come in to your life?
Daniel: I think they just did a bit Google, liked our website. How do you say it? Sejaji [ph 0:28:06.0] got one of the researches to choose sort of five companies in the UK that they like to look at the website and she’s like, so I was the best fit.
James: Do you find you website very valuable in that respect?
Daniel: Oh, a hundred percent, yeah. It’s the most companies, to be honest. And small businesses who aren’t well-established brands the way of getting plans these days. And she’s the star that we have went, the star that she wanted to do, what she did, it was a pleasure working with them.
Daniel: They thought the same as us. And yeah, so they gave us the job.
James: Cool. So what I want to ask you now is we’re going to reflect through some pictures. These pictures will be on the website, so I want to ask you, sort of what order did you, sort of approach these when doing this spec I guess, the event concept. I mean, noted down a few things here like venue, choice, lighting design, set design, furniture, table dressing, floor, entertainment, catering. We’ve got lots of the sirens outside. Yeah, so…
Daniel: That’s the disadvantage of being in the middle of London, I guess, yeah.
James: Indeed. It is, indeed. So it such is life. Cool. So, well, I’m looking at a picture of the party. First of all, what was the venue here? How did you go on choosing venue?
Daniel: So they’ve already done a deal with the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park who wanted the press. So, eventually, the Mandarins will have given them the venue. They had NBC and E Entertainment. So E Entertainment and NBC, the same company. They already had a contact at Mandarin Oriental.
Daniel: Lions Gate who actually produced the show, were also in with the Mandarin Oriental, probably a previous premier or something. So that was the chosen venue they don’t get invloved with the PR team.
James: You get — you get involved in the venue in your choice of times?
Daniel: We do. Yeah, we actually have a venue — separate venue company called Exclusive Venues of London and, you know, a lot of clients come to us because they haven’t got a venue yet. It just so happen this was — this was chosen. They do have Royal entrance at the Mandarin Oriental.
Daniel: Head backs onto Hyde Park, The Royal Park. So, there were — there were several reasons, you know.
James: Got you.
Daniel: As well as the fact that it was offered on a sponsorship basis for the reason why they went for them.
James: Okay. So when you got this breakthrough, you obviously understood the brief. How — what was first? Lighting design, set design, furniture?
Daniel: I think it was choosing some what I call Instagramable moments. So we designed a few — because it was press party, the idea of this is get as much exposure as possible and, you know, people only Instagram and Tweet interesting things, things I they haven’t seen before or things that are very excessive. And so we count with a few, kind of, Instagramable moments. One was this giant crown.
Daniel: Giant queen’s crown made of flowers. That was eight foot tall made of 7000 flowers, was about 15,000 pounds. And it was a 360 degree model of the royal crown, but completely produced in flowers. And you can see the pictures on the website.
James: Where’d you get that idea from?
Daniel: I mean, just having sort of a look around on different websites. We saw in Las Vegas one of the hotels have a giant horse carousel made out of flowers that was spinning around in the entrance.
Daniel: Which is — which is pretty cool.
James: I assume these are real flowers, not fake?
Daniel: These are real flowers, yeah.
Daniel: And we thought of, you know, royals, that kind of goes around, the crows around, let’s go over the crown. You know, it’s sort of just you cannot just come to the conclusion I supposed by just looking at stuff and applying it to what you’re doing. You know, another we had was — well, being the Americans, they like the idea — they play beer pong that’s kind of — as The Royals, we did a champagne pong table where you play with cups of champagne instead of beer. So, yeah, again, because this is tongue-in-cheek look at the excesses of the Royal Family and not necessarily the real thing but what people might assume. You know, we had a giant DJ stage with a giant wall of flowers made to look like The Union Jack. You know, again, all these kind of little tongue-in-cheek Americanisms or American ways of representing Britain, what kind of — just kind of pushed into this. I guess this is kind of like the Royal Family at Vegas.
Daniel: It’s probably the best way to describe this. You know, funny enough if you look to Vegas for these almost like the crown because, you know, it’s that sort of place that does stuff excess.
James: Yeah, okay. That’s — where did you — the flowers for instance, was — did the flowers do those — was that for — did the flowers — I’ve seen this structure to…
Daniel: Yeah, that’s right. So what we — what we did, we purchased a 3D model and there’s a couple of sites, things were like super squared or something really weird that sells 3D models.
Daniel: That 3D model was then sent to a — I supposed, a set manufacturer who used that model to cut out all the pieces that require to make that structure.
Daniel: Glue it all together, so it looked like original computerized model but it’s now the real version. And then the florist would come in and attach flowers to a model in a design that, you know, produced the — produced the result. So, you know, the — so the spires of the — of the crown would be in gold or yellow flowers to look like gold, the base of it would be purple to look like the sort of purple fur or velvet. Yeah, so it’s a complex procedure but it’s really, you know, starting from a computerized model to producing a real model to covering in flowers.
James: Yeah, I think…
Daniel: And to make sure those flowers don’t die.
James: So the flowers sort of part of brief or did that come from you or…
Daniel: No, they were part of the brief. Certainly, you know, one of the things we were told was that the, sort of, director of E Entertainment had seen a giant stars and stripes US flag produced set of flowers at some big party a couple of years ago. They thought, “That was cool, so, you know, why don’t we that?” And we just said, “That’s cool. Let’s put it behind the DJ to make our a focal point.”
James: Okay. Did that come from asking them questions of what you want and…
Daniel: It was — it was a — I mean, they sense — you know, they’re experienced guys, they do premier parties all the time in the States, so, you know, we had a pretty good briefing to be honest. And we had brief that was comprehensive enough to get the idea of the event but also open enough to allow us to suggest our own ideas like the floral crown and the champagne pong and things.
James: Great. So was this all done over Skype or equivalent or…
Daniel: Oh, just done on phone.
Daniel: Phone and email. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the whole thing. We never — we never met the client until they arrive and said, “Wow, this looks great.”
James: Wow. That’s…
Daniel: But the thing is, we have pictures of previous premiers they done in the States.
Daniel: So, you know, we knew the standard they want, all we had to do was up that and make it look better than the normal standard. We knew they’d be impressed because we have actually produced something better than what they used to do.
James: So anything else here that you want to sort of draw attention to that you think is already cool?
Daniel: Yeah, it was kind of walk through the life of a — of a royal from this kind of tongue-in-cheek approach that The Royals too. So, you know, as you came in, you have the giant crown on the — on the — so that was to represent like the crown on the…
Daniel: You walk up the stairs and you have these enormous framed portrait, you know, 10, 12 foot tall with all the stars, and that was supposed to look like a family portrait where…
Daniel: …there were little portraits on the wall. Going in through the main space, we created a living room with plush velvet sofas, a couple of union flag cushions for good measure and that we have a union flag on.
James: I’m assuming the sofas were hired in.
Daniel: Yeah, exactly.
James: Do you need sort of a good knowledge of — working knowledge of what a furniture company of high stock — with having their high stock?
Daniel: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think — I think.
James: In a way of sofas, put it that way.
Daniel: I that — yeah, I think the most important thing is to understand what’s out there.
Daniel: You know, if you understand what’s out there, it’s a library of stuff you can just pull for when you need it. You know, we knew that the company had plush velvet sofas.
Daniel: Great. We never used it before but actually this is a great to use them, so now we can go to that company and go, “Yeah, can we have like six of them, please? This is going to work for our event.” You know, so I think, you know, knowing your supplies is key, you know, we live in England, it’s a small country and, you know, there isn’t a supply who has everything. It’s not like the States where you can afford to do that. There isn’t the volume of event business where you can literally own absolutely everything for every single event. It’s just not practical. So the key thing is, you know, forming relationships with partners where you own certain things, you know, certainly lighting and technical, but certain specialty items like a velvet Chesterfield sofa, will then use one to get that.
Daniel: So, you know, having a supplier that has them, therefore we can put it when we need it.
James: Great. Cool, let’s carry on.
Daniel: So here we had television screens that were actually encompassed in baroque gold frames, so to look like pictures hanging in the walls but that had just previews of the actual show itself. We have like champagne pong table as I said.
James: Correct, yeah.
Daniel: That would be the pool table room, I guess.
Daniel: You know, we had the bar, that’s always very important. So the bar here, we did a distress union –again, a distress union flag design in black and gold, because actually it was going a bit too blue and red. And we didn’t want it to look like sort of street party, the golden jubilee. I needed a bit dark and a bit more sort of, you know, party like, a bit more Vegas as we said.
James: Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.
Daniel: Hence, the black and gold. So we produced a distress union flag bar. And, you know, the whole theme of the show is that, you know, everything wasn’t a bit vanicky and so, having the flag kind of distressed and worn out and was kind of part of the show. It didn’t only speak, listening and gleaming and, you know, like a big role documentary on the coronation.
James: And it looks like you’ve lit the whole room with gobo breakout and uplighters.
Daniel: Absolutely, yes. So, I mean, we used — again, because there was so much red and blue going through there, we didn’t want to use that color as our base color for our lighting because again, it would’ve looked like your golden jubilee, so — and we were certainly two years on from that. So, we just chose a sort of warm lighting scheme that looked quite like palacian and quite royal. I supposed The Mandarin has lot gold feature chandeliers. If you use kind of gold lighting, it’s just going to enhance that, basically make it look a bit more luxury. And then, you know, the other elements like the flowers and the bar, they were the elements that have the color running through it.
James: Great. Good. Anything else from these pictures you want to point out?
Daniel: I supposed the DJ stage was built as a kind of multi-tiered gold DJ stage, kind of made to look like a set of royal bedroom curtains in plush red velvet.
James: Oh, did you put the curtains in behind as well?
Daniel: That was all — that was all in — yeah, all in…
James: It’s difficult for me to discern what’s actually brought the hotel is a thing.
Daniel: Well, that’s the thing. Very little, I mean, even the carpet using red, the carpet’s going to be blue in there, so I’ve actually replaced the carpet overnight in the room.
James: I was just thinking when I look in these pictures, “The carpet must be red, I imagine.’
Daniel: No, no, no.
James: You changed the color?
Daniel: We changed the carpet as well, yeah overnight.
Daniel: So, yeah. So — no, the back wall was made of, sort of, red pleated velvet drapes with giant gold tussles to kind of represent soft curtains of bedroom or living in the — in the palace. You know, it’s all those kind of — but then, also we blend up in Vegas to up with a little bit of shiny gold as we tend throughout the whole event as you’ll see. And, you know, when you look at the pictures, although I’m talking about red velvet and shiny gold. I mean, it sounds different as hell, but actually, you know, although it was supposed on a, kind of, tongue-in-cheek ostentatious look, it kind of works together as whole event scheme. Actually, when you look at it, it kind of all make sense. And that’s the key thing. You know, you can use those tacky elements as long as it all achieves the overall experience.
James: Obviously, I’m sure you got NDA, non-disclosure stuff on this. So — but with the budgets and all for the doing an event like this, did they come to you with a budget or do you go, “These are my ideas, just pick what you want.”
Daniel: They kind — people come to us with no idea or budget. As in, you know, “We got a lot of money to play with, so give us some cool ideas.” Or, “Listen, the budget’s pretty tight so nothing that’s, you know, you can use as much as you got already in-house and, you know, don’t have to build stuff, that will be great.” Can we — we know from the way they speak what their budget is. No one ever goes over 100 grand. “I’ve got 100 grand, I’ve got 50 grand, I’ve got 20.” No one does that.
Daniel: They should do. It actually helps us out a lot, you know, I think it achieves a better result but, you know, people are very kind of weary that they’re going to be sort of, you know, taken for a ride. Because I supposed the events industry is one of things that’s not regulated, you know.
Daniel: You get into a supermarket, you know the price of a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk and if so they’d charged you — charged you a 10 for a bottle of milk, you’d know right? If someone tried to charge you 100 pounds for uplight versus 25 pounds and you’d never bought ab uplight, how would you know? You know.
Daniel: So, people are kind of very weary of, sort of, disclosing budget for that reason. You know, there’s no need to be — when you come to us, we have — we have a list price, we have a set, a margin that goes onto various items. So it’s fairly formulae. There’s flexibility but it’s fairly formulae. But you know, I can understand why people — why people don’t want to disclose…
Daniel: On this one, so we had a bit of, you know, they were — they were vocal on the fact they wanted to make it impressive and, you know, don’t worry too much about budget. At this stage, present ideas and task, how much they cost.
James: Yeah, we just want to use it properly.
Daniel: Yeah, we didn’t really go for everything. There were things that would cut, reduce, of course there were but, you know.
James: Did you have some wacky ideas which didn’t make it into the…
Daniel: Yeah, I wanted the crown to be spinning for example, you know, when they came in, you had a revolving crown, like a carousel crown but, you know, the moving platform got cut because they didn’t want to spend the money on it, which is fair enough, you know.
James: Yeah, I guess they’ve — everybody’s got to draw the line somewhere.
Daniel: Yeah, of course.
James: Cool. Moving on. We’ll leave this event for a moment. And you’ve obviously done corporate events, private events, weddings. That would be your three major markets. Anything I’ve missed there?
Daniel: That’s kind of it, really isn’t it?
James: I think…
Daniel: Corporate, private, and weddings. Rather any wedding, a corporate event or it’s not corporate event, it’s going to be for birthday or something else.
James: Yeah, but you’re not doing exhibitions or anything like that so much?
Daniel: No, I mean, corporate events kind of — I supposed events — corporate events are kind of exhibitions but we don’t seem to do exhibitions as a– as a — no, it’s not something we target.
James: So if we talk about the three markets, I mean — I mean, this could be per cost. So — but what — I mean, are there major differences do you feel like designing between those three different markets?
Daniel: Well, I mean, you know, private events are generally for birthday party or something similar. They want to just have a big blowout party. There’s not many traditions involved, so, you know, you don’t have to worry about registrar or wedding cakes, so you just do whatever. You just go crazy and make sure everyone has a good time. Corporate events tend to be, you know, for a brand launch. Their idea is they want that return on their money, so, you know, that has to presented in a way with enough branding, they’re going to get enough exposure so make sure they see a return on the event.
James: So then you have to understand their brand as well?
Daniel: You have to understand their brand and present it in the right way and make sure that, you know, people react to it because, you know, doing and event, it doesn’t get any press coverage or no one buys that project. That’s a — the event may have gone have well smoothly, but it’s a failure because the whole point of the event was, you know, not there in the first place.
Daniel: And, you know, with weddings, you know, it’s all about the experience of the bride and groom. You know, it’s supposed to be a happy day, so it’s very important not to get bug down in technicality and just to make it as easy and smooth as possible for them. So they really have been going to their wedding. You know, so there is a sort of, you know, your kind of broad ways of offerings in those — in those three different sectors.
James: Cool. Do you feel you have any design traits which you bring to Bespoke events?
Daniel: I like to use stuff that’s like realistic. So, you know, if I — if I do an event that, you know, it’s a beach-themed event, I want real sand and I want real beaches — I want real beach bench there, real parasols are actually used on beaches. What I won’t want is fake palm trees and fake sand and, you know, things that are propped but don’t actually really do the job. So, you know, our approach and certainly from my point too is I always try and do stuff that’s as real as possible. You know, for doing champagne pong, we’ll actually have a champagne pong table, you know, with real champagne and real champagne coupes and, you know, not just something that people look at and go — but can’t actually use, you know.
James: Yeah, yeah.
Daniel: It’s all about actually using — you’re actually living it being in it.
James: Yeah, yeah.
Daniel: We do ski lodge where we use real wood, you know, we won’t use paper match, Disneyland style, which is not out approach.
James: Sure. Got it. When I think of your event style, I’m just — from a whole bunch of events we done with you, I just think from a lighting sector, so we really saturate to nice, rich, colors so that the…
Daniel: That’s right, yeah.
James: …purples and yellows that like come in, not use of the generic bland pink uplighters. There’s always…
Daniel: Absolutely. Well, the light’s there for a reason. It’s there to make the stuff that we put in there more realistic and more environmental in terms of, you know, how you feel when you’re in there. So, you know, for example, if we’re doing a, you know, midnight forest, I’ll put a color of blue in there. The reason why is because when you look at the moon and what that looks like at night, it makes, kind of, everything look blue.
Daniel: So, you know, we’ll use the same colors to recreate, you know, the right — the right — the right looking feel.
James: I guess you got that well…
Daniel: And nothing’s pink, is it? And where in nature do you see pink? Maybe on a sunset occasionally. Okay, so if we’re doing a, you know, a Mexican sunset themed event, I might put a bit pink there, but, you know, unless someone just wants a big pink in there, you know, we wont use it because there’s no situation in real life where everyting is saturated in pink?
Daniel: But there is with moonlight and blue and green and the sky is blue and, you know, purple, I supposed, you know, in night club and, you know, there’s a reason for choosing certain colors.
James: Yeah, that makes — that makes complete sense. So I guess we’re going to the end of this interview. It’s been pretty cool. Most challenging event you’ve ever worked on?
Daniel: This would probably be Mykonos working in full degree heat with 20 degree — 20 mile per hour winds which on a beach is a problem because the sand blows in your face and eyes and gets everything. And of course, rolled with the table cloths and flowers and close the candles out. So you both got high wind and extreme heat. You’re actually battling against nature in two ways. One, you’re trying to stay alive and not faint, unless you’re working outside for a week in 43 heat with no shade. And the other thing is you try not to get sand sort of on everything. In your eyes, in all the lighting fixtures. Can you imagine what sand does to a moving light or, you know, a set of speakers, it would kill it, so.
James: Did you — did you quite stuff out there or was it…
Daniel: We — yeah, it was — it was water. There’s nothing on Mykonos, it’s an island and that operates three months a year, so everything was worked from, you know, accommodation of Athens to London. It was all a mixture of stuff across the year propped in. it was literally from scratch. Again, you can see these photos in our website in the international section and you can also see a video of how we set up and you will see, we started from a deserted beach at midnight, built through the night and created of actually a nightclub.
James: You had like, what, six or seven hours overnight?
Daniel: It was two overnights and then we had the days. We start on Sunday, event on Tuesday.
James: Wow, that’s a — that’s a kind of — that’s intense.
Daniel: Yeah, it was. It was.
James: And we’ve just talked about international work there where you guys often do. A little bit of celebrity work as well you’ve done?
Daniel: Yeah, we’ve had loads of people attend our events and we’ve dealt even for people from Will.i.am to David Guetta. Pop stars like Taio Cruz and The Saturdays, and to Rod Stewart, some of the legends of pop and rock. Yeah, it’s…
James: What was the event you did for Rod Stewart?
Daniel: That was a wedding.
Daniel: And he played privately for the bride and groom in front of the audience with their 200 guest.
James: Incredible. Where was that?
Daniel: So, you know, it’s all — that was actually in — up in York in the North England. We did it in the Marquee. And again, the Marquee had to be set up like Wembley Arena to cope with all the rider of the sound and the lighting requirements.
James: Did they give you a big rider that you have to then…
Daniel: Yeah, they did, yeah. And that was — that was — it was intense getting to that position because the thing is, you’re trying to produce a rock concert and make it also look wedding at the same time. And to do that you go hand and hand. One has loads of cables and technical care, and the other one’s supposed to look nice and, you know, pristine. And actually, integrating them together is a — is a challenge.
James: I guess the interesting thing because obviously we have a musical background that over the past, I think 10, 15 years events, the equipment is all about how clean your stage is these days.
Daniel: Yeah, absolutely.
James: And so, actually, I think rock bands are getting more, kind of, wedding friendly…
Daniel: Yeah, it is. It is. As it happened in Rod Stewart set is white and glossy as you’ll see from any of his concerts. So actually, it was kind of okay. We went pure white and, you know, it was all very clean. Also, the stage is so big in comparison to the band members on it.
James: So that live aid from 1985?
Daniel: Yeah, something like that. Yeah. Well, it looked like any Rod Stewart event probably for the last 25 years.
Daniel: You know, people had their own look and, you know they stick with that, that’s their identity, you know.
James: Brilliant. Do you have — you got some close relationships with venues as well?
Daniel: Absolutely. Yeah, we supply to a lot of the big venues around London and the, you know, the Victoria Museum, The Foreign Exchange to some of the larger hotels and that countless venues. You know, we specialize really, you know, historical venues like using lighting to sort of enhance, you know, amazing old architecture and things like that.
James: Great, great. This is so cool. What is next for Bespoke?
Daniel: Bespoke’s known international, so you see it in our international section on our website and our venue website also have international venues on there as well. You know, there’s a — there’s a demand, you know, as people’s lifestyle and living standards increase and also we get a more international demographic of people living in the UK and London.
Daniel: People go, why? I have a house in the south of France. Let’s — why don’t you do my wedding there or, you know, I love Mykonos, let’s do my event there or we met in Vegas let’s do my — let’s do our wedding there.” You know, so, as people travel more, as travel come cheaper, as people come more affluent, you’re going to see a lot more international destination events take place.
Daniel: This year, we’re going to be in Paris three times, Vienna, Mykonos, you name it, you know.
James: Great. And just last question, any advice for a young or someone willing to get into this industry, I mean, we touched on it.
Daniel: It’s all about experience. Do at least five years of experience. Hotels, restaurants, you can work in festivals for a bit, but that’s the events industry. They don’t make any — they make much money in festival industry because everyone works for free to, you know, get in that tickets to… so, you know, work in as many different sectors, and industries, and areas of hospitality you can. You know, everywhere from kitchens to one side, you know, even theatre. You know, eventually, you know, production starts in theatre, that’s where lights and sound came from. And then in went to private event. Anything that encompasses to an event do some experience with. More experience you have, more you’ll become — and knowing stuff and common sense at the end of the day.
James: Brilliant. So, we’re — at your studio, you said before you’ve got a few staff here working for you, how did those guys end up with you?
Daniel: Listen, we all sort of work, you know, together. Everyone has different skills. You know, I don’t have every skill under the sun to choose and event. I’m surprised for someone who’s in event not as organized as you think. So, you know, we have people who are — who are good at market and sales, people who are good at design, people who are good at logistics. And, you know, a mixture of all those — all those things put together. You know, we’ve got people who came from hospitality school, people who came from working in hotels. All the things that I’ve been — I’ve been saying, really. And, you know, everyone has a degree of interest industry. That’s the most — the main important thing. And also, a background somewhere in the hospitality industry, whether it’s in hotels, whether it’s in events, whether it’s food and beverage. You know, they’ve been in some part of the industry. And, you know, as long as you’ve got some experience and the right attitude, you’ll get that.
James: Brilliant. And do you use interns as well or…
Daniel: Yeah, we have interns. We get obviously as, you know, mend quite of a lot of request for them. But, you know, for us, it’s — you know, we’re not — we don’t just sort of take interns because they offer their services for free.
James: Got you.
Daniel: That’s not what we want. We want someone who, sort of, understands our business, can work comfortably within the kind of events we do. And, you know, the interns that we have, they’re often involved in on-sites on some of these big projects, you know, I had an intern who ends up in the Rod Stewart event doing this rider. You know, so — but because the kind of people that we want as interns already are quite competent. They’re there, they’re sort of halfway there to, you know, having a fulltime job.
James: So this is really the foot-in-the door of the internship?
Daniel: If they already have some experience and if they already have a keen interest and if they, you know, switched on proactive and have common sense, yeah, absolutely. But, you know, there’s no point coming to us with zero interest, with zero skill, with no common sense because, you won’t pick it up quickly enough, you know, it would be a waste of their time.
James: What’s — what is something that’s happened that’s really impressed an intern or someone in the job has gave you…
Daniel: I think — I think, you know, for us, you know, some of the — some of the best interns we’ve had have been proactive in sourcing, you know, new applies with different cool products that go into our event, rather than just sitting there and, you know, using the same supplies that I gave them in the first place. They go, “No, we have — I found these guys. Look at these guys, what they have and it’s so — and it’s so good value. And, you know, great, let’s use for something.” So someone who’s — again, it’s all about being proactive who’s sort of advancing what we do as a company not just sitting there and doing nothing.
James: Okay. So you were looking for them to inspire you as well.
Daniel: Absolutely. A hundred percent. You know, anything that we do is stuff that I’ve just seen before is not all just inventions from the middle of nowhere. You know, stuff I’ve seen before and adapted. You know, the more stuff that I see and what people that introduce stuff to us and go, “What about this?”
Daniel: It increase my knowledge massively.
James: Brilliant. Cool. Well, I think we’re going to end. I don’t know how long we’ve been talking. Toby is also…
Daniel: Probably about an hour, I think.
James: Toby is also here. Say hello, Toby.
James: Hello, there’s Toby.
Toby: Yeah, not unlike me.
James: It’s the quietest if you’ve ever heard him. All right. Now, how long we’ve been going for Toby?
Toby: Well, I’m just — you know, 40-ish.
James: Okay. Okay. Cool. Brilliant. Is there anything else you want to — based on what we talked about, anything I’ve missed?
Daniel: No, I think the — I think the key is — have a look at the pictures if you’re interested in this podcast because it call make sense. Have a look at our website because a lot of stuff I’ve talked about is on there.
James: What’s the website?
Daniel: Website is bespoke-london.co.uk.
James: Okay. Bespoke — do you call yourselves Bespoke Events?
Daniel: Bespoke Events London.
James: Okay, that your full name?
Daniel: Yeah, that’s our full name. although we’re — because we’re now international, we’re consider whether our name changes appropriate. But now, Bespoke Events London, that’s the name.
James: But London’s got certain chache hasn’t it?
Daniel: Well, it’s like — it’s like Chanel being in Paris isn’t it or…
James: Yeah, exactly.
Daniel: It’s — you know, it’s just not our sort of home origins, I guess.
Daniel: We’ll probably keep it.
James: So you — is there any way that people get in touch with you? You’re on Twitter or…
Daniel: Yeah, we’re on Twitter @BespokeEvents, on Instagram @BespokeEventsLondon or the LinkedIn obviously if you — if you have…
James: Yeah, and you’re happy for people who connect with you online?
Daniel: Yeah, absolutely. As many as you want.
James: Brilliant. Lovely. Cool. Daniel, thanks for joining us today. And thank you for being part of the show.
Daniel: Thanks very much, James. Good to meet you. All right.
Toby: Lovely work.
Narrator: You’re listening to PlannersPod.com
James: So Toby, that was my chat with Daniel Morris-Gibbons. How did you find it?
Toby: I love it I sat there quietly in the room, drinking in the ambiance of a working design studio. We were kind of partially behind the screen and there were people on phones and all sorts. But luckily it was quite enough for us to concentrate and really thought Daniel gave a pretty insightful interview that was very valuable indeed to us, and to our listeners.
James: I would agree with you there. What do you take away?
Toby: Okay. So I’ve got a few notes. Number one, the thing about entering the business if you
want to get into event design specifically. The thing I took away — we haven’t seen this work crop up much, but now we’ve seen it. Its everywhere — And that is, get experience in the hospitality sector. This is really something that Daniel came from initially with this. Work in hotels etc. That’s really valuable.
So. 1) Get experience in the hospitality sector.
James: Yup, that’s good. Hospitality, a word like you that’s a…
Toby: I can’t even say it.
James: I can’t say it either. Perhaps that’s why we just shunned it to Events. No, definately work
that we haven’t discussed that much so far and I’ve seen it cropping up everywhere. We’re going to talk about it more going forward. I know that. Point number two. Where were you, Toby?
Toby: Point number two. It’s important to get a broad knowledge of technical equipment.
Lights and screens… I’ll give you a really good example of that. I’ve phoned up and just double checked the other day what a “gobo” was. Which you actually talked about in this interview. So I was very happy that I know what that was! Because quite simply I don’t deal with lighting everyday, but I have seen the results of the gobo, specifically the Bespoke Events London do and it’s stunning. So that was cool. And then you did say some other stuff about some sort of lighting thing that I didn’t get. But yeah! Get a broad technical knowledge of technical equipment if you want to get into event design specifically. But here’s the key thing: Understand what it means for your clients. You might know what a gobo is but unless you can say it going to be basically a pretty pattern cut out and put in front of a light that’s going to project onto a wall, there’s no point in knowing what a gobo is cause most people don’t know what one is. As I’ve demonstrated just earlier this week.
James: I’m gonna be testing you on this stuff in a few weeks. S’good!
Toby: Thanks very much.
James: Anything else you want to add to this?
Toby: Yeah so, number three is gonna be the thing that obviously we’re really big on as well.
And I’m really glad Daniel just basically said, yeah this is what you need to do first when you’ve got clients, or pitching for a piece of work. Ask them questions to get the information to get your inspiration for what you’re gonna do. How’re you gonna design it? We do the same with music by asking a series of questions that we’ve crafted over the last few years. So that’s a really important thing. Get some questions together that means you’ll get some information and some inspiration as to the type of Event that you want to design.
James: Yeah, I’d agree with you on that one. I’ve looked on so many websites and seen: Well,
here’s your beach theme, here’s you’re Indian theme etc. etc. I’m sure they give it more adequate names for that. It’s almost like a catalog that you choose from, rather than — I love Daniel’s approach of those questions. You then start to elicit the answer. So very similar one going on where Pipa from Berkeley Castle was all about the Tequila and how she got inside the little nuances of how clients behave and make that really special moment. Daniel is doing that with event design process too. I think, for me, that’s what takes it to the next level. How do you feel?
Toby: I feel good. What episode with Pipa?
Jame: You’re testing me now. Just search Berkeley Castle.
Toby: (laughs) Just search for “Berkeley Castle” on the PlannersPod. Cool, okay. Number four:
Little bit relating to get a broad knowledge of technical equipment. 4) Get good at communicating your technical design ideas quickly and clearly so your clients can easily see the benefit of what it means to them. There’s no good in saying “Blahdiblah there and a something else there” It just doesn’t make any sense! You’ve got to be really clear this is why you need to invest in this basic equipment because you’re going to do this. So I’ve rolled that point into the end of number two. Number five, I’m going to move on. It quite simply, have good supplies. Have good relationships with your suppliers. you might not want to own, for instance, if we’re talking about the beach theme that Daniel was talking about. You might not need to own 10 tons of sand and keep it in stock. You might just need to have someone who will get it for you on a individual event. I don’t suppose you could reuse sand? Maybe you can. I don’t know. But yeah, have good suppliers and good relationships with those people that you know delivers them. So build that up nicely. And I guess if you’re growing as Bespoke Events London have done, you might start considering having some stock pieces. That could be anything with an event design company. Couldn’t it James?
Toby: It could be AV. So audio visual stuff. It could equally be pieces of furniture that might be
you know, chairs– that possibly could be reupholstered for different themes but are stock pieces. And that could save you money, right?
James: Yeah, you could definately do that. And you could see that in the pictures on the
website from the Royals one they did. The bar– I’m sure that is built on the theme, but they had the– What did they all it? A distressed Union Jack or something? Have I got that one right?
Toby: Yeah– Oh no. Maybe it was distressed but it was — Oh! It was the “Deconstructed Union
James: Yeah! Anyway, but I’m sure that’s built on the basis on a bar anyway so it’s…
Toby: Yeah, it’s got a bar in stock.
James: (laughs) yeah. You can start to see it’s little pieces of customization on a very general
Toby: So what do we need to be aware of if we start investing in furniture, in speakers and all
that is… It’s obviously something… Does that cost associated in there with owning gear?
James: Of course. Got to keep it somewhere, etc etc.
Toby: Yeah, so you going to turn a corner when start buying stuff, because a lot of this stuff –
Big PA’s, speakers, big screens… You’re not going to be able to keep it in your house in your office. You’re going to need to have specialist storage for it. Certainly if its technical stuff, sound stuff, and all that equipment. That’s going to be maintained as well. So there are associated costs with owning equipment. Yeah! That’s it!
James: Great! Well, I think we’re about there. Do you wanna do a little bit of housekeeping
Toby: I’ll do my best. So yeah, for more info about Bespoke Events London, you can go to their
website: www.bespoke-london.co.uk and you’ll find all the other links to their various places on Twitter and facebook etc. on our website. Our website of course is PlannersPod.com
You can check us out on Facebook.com/metropolislive
And then the number one, you can find us on itunes and Stitcher. Just search PlannersPod. There will be notes, media links and all that other stuff on the PlannersPod.com website.
And again I’m going to ask those questions cause we need you to join our amazing community that we’re going to launch. So, 1) Where are you now with your event professional career? 2) Where do you want to go in the next 12 months with your event professional career?
You can answer those by emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our website, PlannersPod.com and… that’s it! Isn’t it James?
James: See you at the other end! We’d love it if you left us a review on itunes.
Toby: Well done. Alright, see you later. Cheers guys. Bye!
James: Bye bye.